I love shopping, part 1

Return to the table of contents

Upside down1

When I was in Hawaii, I went to a cafeteria. I took a tray and went on line for some food. I came to the section where they have mashed potatoes. But instead of saying “mashed potatoes,” I asked for “potatoes mashed.” I thought I was saying it correctly and that the lady behind the counter had not heard me. I was very brave. When she asked me again what I wanted, I repeated it. Then she said, “Are you upside down?”

LS 1. 1 January 1980

The polaroid camera2

At one store in Hawaii the lady was so nice. I wanted to buy a Polaroid camera. It cost ten dollars. But the saleslady said, “Don’t buy it unless you can get film for it. We are all out of film, but you can look around. If you find the film, then come back and buy the camera.”

Ashrita went to four or five stores, but he couldn’t get any film. He came back and told me. The lady said, “I told you! What is the use of buying a camera if you can’t get film?” If it had been somewhere else, they would have said, “Buy the camera here and then look for film somewhere else.”

LS 2. 1 January 1980

Father, husband and brother3

When I entered into another store, I saw an elderly lady who was about fifty or fifty-five years old. As soon as I opened the door, she came and stood behind me and started patting my back, saying, “You remind me of my father, husband and brother.”

Immediately my heart surrendered to her. I asked her a few questions. She said she was Japanese and that her father, husband and brother had died in the Second World War. Her husband used to work in the post office.

While she was patting me, she said, “You are serene, pure and full of peace, peace, peace, peace.” She said “peace” at least four or five times.

I bought from her store a suitcase with wheels on the bottom. It was nine dollars or something like that, and I gave her a twenty dollar bill. She did not ring it up on the cash register. Instead she took the twenty dollar bill from me and put it inside my bag. So I took it out of the bag and gave it to her again and said, “You have made a mistake.”

At that time her daughter came over. She was very angry and upset and she rang up the sale on the register. The mother then took the exact amount out of her pocket and put it in the register.

The daughter was puzzled.

The mother said, “He reminds me of my father, husband and brother. Of late I am seeing my dear ones quite often.”

What could I say? Inwardly I was telling her, “Perhaps your time has come to join them.” But if I told her outwardly, her daughter would be mad. Since the lady was so nice, I wandered around and got a few more things. The lady said to me, “Had it been my store, I would not have charged you at all. But I am only an employee here.”

Then, when I was leaving the store, she followed me out to the door in such an affectionate way. Tears were visible in her eyes.

LS 3. 1 January 1980

The stuffed animal4

In one store I saw a beautiful stuffed animal, but I could not figure out if it was a cow or a dog. It had a bell around the neck. I was going to buy it for Susan.

Before I bought it, I said to one of the salesladies, “I like it very much; it is white and very nice. But is it a cow?”

She laughed at me and said, “No, a dog!”

It was very beautiful, and it looked like a cow.

LS 4. 4 January 1980

I am sorry5

The other day I went shopping and I bought a few things. At one store I asked a saleslady for a shopping bag. She said I had to pay twenty cents extra.

I asked, “Are you Hawaiian or Japanese?”

She said, “I am Japanese, and I am sorry I asked you for twenty cents extra.”

She gave me the bag and wouldn’t take the twenty cents from me. Afterwards, I got a few more things. As I was going out, she followed me and said very fast, “I am sorry.”

LS 5. 8 January 1980

The "thank you" business6

Three or four days ago I went to Woolworth’s to buy a bag. I was standing in line behind a little girl around six or seven years old. She was with her brother, who was about four or five.

The little boy said to his sister, “Jeannie,” — or something like that — “if you have ten cents, can you give it to me?”

She said, “No!”

Then the boy said, “Didn’t you hear me say ‘if’, ‘if’, ‘if’? I said, ‘If you have, if you have!’”

Again she said, “No!”

Then he said, “Damn you!”

The girl bought a roll of thick string. It came to $1.36. She only had $1.30. So when she gave $1.30 to the lady at the register, the lady at the register said, “O my God, O my God,” looking at the manager. How could she give the girl the string when the actual price was six cents more?

Immediately I took out a dollar and gave it to the little girl, so she was very happy. The lady at the register said to her, “Say ‘thank you’ to the gentleman.” But the girl didn’t say anything. Then from the change I gave a dime to the little boy. He grabbed it from me. The woman behind the register, who was about 23 or 25 years old, said to him, “Little one, say ‘thank you’.” He also wouldn’t say it. So the woman said to the little girl, “What kind of parents do you have? I am ashamed of you.” Then she said to me, “On their behalf I am thanking you. It’s a shame that parents don’t teach their children the ‘thank you’ business!”

LS 6. 30 January 1980

In his own world7

We entered into a store to buy some prasad. There were so many posters with pictures of me there. In so many ways Sevika was trying to let the store owner know that I was the one on the poster, but he was in his own world. Just behind him was a poster where I was playing the esraj.

LS 7. 16 February 1980

Banana ice cream8

Saraswati has a divine enterprise that sells ice cream. The name is Amrita Kutir. When I went there, I was testing or examining the flavours. I liked the banana the best. Because in India I ate bananas millions of times, I don’t have a liking for bananas. But the banana ice cream I liked the most.

LS 8. 2 September 1980

The suspect9

There is a bookstore in Jamaica where I like to buy things. The previous owner was very bad. He used to suspect everyone. Every time I would enter into the store, I had to leave my bag outside. You weren’t allowed to bring your bags inside. The owner looked like President Truman. I would always say jokingly to myself, “Truman has incarnated again.”

When I went into the store a few days ago, I left my bag outside as I always do. It was raining, but what could I do? Then I went inside. A half hour I spent there. I bought a dictionary for a dollar. Then I saw Shakespeare’s Hamlet. I wanted to buy the whole Shakespeare set. The man was so nice. He was looking for the other books, but he could not find them. He said he would have them ready for me the next time — thirty-eight volumes.

I said, “Next week I will come.”

He said, “You will get the books.”

He was looking at me. Then he said, “It seems you are Sri Chinmoy. I can feel the fragrance from your body.” He was saying he was so honoured that I had come into his store.

Then I was looking for my bag. It was on the shelf inside. The man had taken it from outside and put it on the shelf. He said, “Why did you leave it outside?”

I said, “The previous owner used to suspect me.” I told him how nice he was and how bad the previous owner was.

LS 9. 28 February 1981

The sari store10

There is a store where I go to buy saris. First I will buy things, and then the owner will bow down and touch my feet or knee because I am a religious man. He has a big picture of his Guru hanging in the store.

LS 10. 28 February 1981

The same customer twice11

Yesterday I went to see Alo off at the airport. She likes to read newspapers and magazines, so while she was standing at the ticket desk, I went to buy her The New York Times, Newsweek and People magazine. There was a teenager working at the counter. I gave her a twenty dollar bill. My purchase came to over four dollars, so she gave me back three five dollar bills and some change. Then she said very haughtily, “I don’t have a ten dollar bill!” She said it as if I had asked her to give me a ten dollar bill.

I said, “It doesn’t matter, so long as you have given me the proper change.” Then I saw two cute writing pads that said “I love New York” with a heart sign. I said to myself, “I really love New York. It has given me shelter. No other place has given me shelter like this.”

I went up to the girl with the pads. I was standing in front of her, and she was about to press the register. Suddenly I got the inspiration to buy cookies for Alo and Savyasachi. Then she got mad at me. Nobody was behind me. Only one other person was browsing in the store; that’s all. I said, “What’s the difference if I come back or if another customer comes? Can’t you take me as another customer?”

She said to me, “Oh, I didn’t think of it.”

LS 11. 17 September 1981

An encounter at Lucille's Diner12

Last night after the public meditation at PS 86, I gave a flower arrangement to one of the seekers who came up for prasad. A few years ago that particular gentleman was taking a meditation course that Dhrubha was giving. He appreciated Dhrubha’s course like anything. Poor Dhrubha, once in a blue moon he gets appreciation! So this man’s appreciation was like a full moon.

About four days ago I went to Lucille’s Diner with six or seven visiting disciples. When I sat down, this particular man wanted to come over and say hello to me. But Databir stood up and prevented him from approaching me. I looked at the man through the corner of my eye and saw that he was a very nice, very soulful man. So I approached him and said hello to him.

He was so moved. Immediately he showed me his key-chain which had my picture on it. It was one of my smiling pictures. When he spoke to me, he addressed me as “Guru.”

I asked him what he does for a living. He is a fire marshal. We exchanged just a few words, and I invited him to come to our Wednesday night meditations if it was at all possible. Afterwards, he talked to Databir for a few minutes, and then he left. I wasn’t paying any attention when he left. We were just sitting and eating.

When the time came for me to pay the bill, the waitress informed me that the man had paid it. He had told her that he was very happy that he could take care of it. That is why last night, when he came to our Wednesday night public meditation, I gave him flowers. Now today I heard that after the meeting he said he would like to become a disciple.

LS 12. 8 October 1981

Who is right?13

The previous day there was another funny incident. There is a donut shop on Jamaica Avenue next to another store that has burned to the ground. It is near the Long Island Railroad station. They have four or five kinds of donuts there. I asked them for ten egg salad sandwiches. The man said to me, “Ten? Ten? How about five?”

While he was making everything, I asked another worker if she could give me a Tab and a donut. This is how I follow my diet! You won’t believe it, but I have lost eight and a half pounds since the 15-mile race. This is solid weight loss — not water weight. I ran and took exercise; I worked very hard. When I started, I was 146 1/2 pounds. When I got on the scale, I cried. Then, after running the 15-mile race, I gained two and a half or three pounds, as usual. But now my weight is back down to 138, or even a little less. So it is possible for everyone to lose weight!

Anyway, I finished my food, and what did I see? A black man entered the store. He was wearing an expensive suit and was very well dressed. At that time it was around twelve-thirty or one o’clock. The man ordered something and ate it. He gave a ten dollar bill to the owner, but he did not get as much change as he was expecting. The owner just pointed to the price list.

The customer said, “No, you have to give me more change!”

The owner said, “From six to eleven in the morning there is one price. After eleven, the price changes.” The customer said, “I would not have eaten if I had seen that.”

The owner said, “You have to pay for what you have eaten.”

A real argument started, and I was standing right between them. There was a container of milk on the counter. One of them accidentally struck it, and it spilled all over. Both the black man and I jumped away from the counter.

Then I said, “Please, please, I am ready to give the fifty cents.”

The customer was so embarrassed that he said to the owner, “Hell with you!” and walked out.

The owner turned to me and said, “Please tell me who was right?”

I said, “You were right!”

The man grabbed my hand and with his other hand he grabbed two donuts and put them in my other hand.

He said, “You don’t have to pay a cent for these.”

I said, “I don’t want the donuts.” So he put them into my bag. This is how I got two donuts free. Of course, if the owner had asked me who was right while the other man was in the store, I would have said to him, “Do I understand your English?”

LS 13. 8 October 1981


Today in the bakery I bought a loaf of bread. I don’t appreciate bread at all, but some of my disciples like it. The sign said “honeybread,” so I asked the girl behind the counter, “Is there honey inside, or is it just a name?”

The girl said, “I don’t know.” So she went to her boss, an elderly lady.

The boss said, “It has honey inside.”

How they put honey inside the bread, God knows!

LS 14. 8 October 1981

The bargainer15

Yesterday we went to buy something. I remained in the car and Vidhu and Databir went inside as my representatives. The man said, “Four hundred dollars.” I told them to go back inside and offer him three hundred. The message came back, “Four hundred!” This time I told them to say, “Two hundred.” He said, “Three seventy-five.” I said, “Two thirty-five.”

Finally he told them, “I am not going to sell it for less than three-fifty.” So I said, “Then I am not going to buy it. We are going to another place.” Then I felt sorry because I liked the thing so much. So I asked them to go back in and offer three hundred. He said, “No, three twenty-five.”

So it started again. I was arguing for three hundred, but he wouldn’t agree. Finally, he agreed and he sent his assistant, a black man, to talk to me. The man said, “It is very valuable.”

I told Databir and Vidhu, “Let them hate me for bargaining. I always ask for half price, because they always ask for two or three hundred dollars extra.” In India everyone always bargains. In America some shopkeepers say nasty things when you try to bargain. But they ask such an inflated price! Why give them so much money unnecessarily?

LS 15. 17 October 1981

Sari bargaining16

The other day I went to buy some saris for two disciples. They were thirty-six dollars each. I told the shopkeeper, “No, thirty.” The man agreed. Right after that a lady came in and wanted the same sari. He quoted her the same price — thirty-six dollars.

She came in after me, but she wanted to be served before me, so she bought it for thirty-six dollars, and left while I was still standing there.

Then the shopkeeper said that he gave me a better price because I always buy more than one. And he added, “Also, she is an ugly woman. I don’t see any beauty in her.” That is why he sold the sari to her for thirty-six dollars.

LS 16. 17 October 1981

The steam machine17

I wanted to buy a steam machine to lose weight. Sanatan took me to Brooklyn, and he got lost going there, so we went to Manhattan on the way from Queens to Brooklyn. Then, once we got there I couldn’t believe what a horrible place it was! It was full of old hospital things — everything used and second-hand. Sanatan wanted me to buy a machine that was very large and very old. I was ready to buy it, but then my mother’s soul appeared and said, “This is a hospital. You don’t have to come to a place like this.”

I didn’t like the machine at all, but I would have surrendered to Sanatan. But when my mother interfered, I did not buy it. This machine was three times as large as the one I eventually did buy.

LS 17. 1 November 1981

English saves us18

Five or six years ago I was in a restaurant in Paris. I was talking to them in English. Because I am an Indian, they also were talking to me in English. Everything was in English. But when an Englishman came in after me, although he was asking questions in English, he was getting the answers in French from them. So you see, they didn’t like speaking English. The same thing sometimes happens in England. When a Frenchman comes and asks them questions, they pretend they don’t know French even if they know it.

In India, Hindi is the official language, but even now many people do not know Hindi. In so many places they can’t speak Hindi, but they do speak English. So English saves us.

LS 18. 31 December 1981

Soul's connection19

Yesterday we went to a shoe store in Brooklyn to buy running shoes. They know Thomas there, and they like him very much. The wife has a tremendous soul’s connection with Pratibha, and the husband has a tremendous soul’s connection with Kanan. While I was talking to them I was seeing their soul’s connection with our disciples.

If you go there, you will see on the wall my picture in the New York Marathon. Thousands of people are ahead of me, but I am clearly visible.

LS 19. 21 February 1982

The flute20

I stopped in London on the way back from India. While I was there, I went to buy a Western flute. The man very politely said to me, “Do you play?” I said, “Yes, I play a little.”

He said, “Do you want an expensive one or an inexpensive one?”

I said, “Inexpensive.” The most inexpensive flutes were four hundred dollars; the others were twelve hundred and even two thousand or three thousand dollars.

Then he said to me, “If you know how to play, I advise you to go into our studio and play; then you can see if you like the flute. But if you don’t know how to play, the best thing is for you to look at it in front of me here.” He very nicely suspected me. After I had played for two seconds, he said, “You don’t have to play here.” Then he took me to the studio.

Whether it was his sincerity or flattery, God knows, but after I played for two or three minutes he said, “You are a concert flautist. You should not play this flute. You should use an open-hole flute.”

Inwardly I said, “What is his intention? Those flutes are four thousand dollars. He may just be flattering me to get the money. Flattery sometimes makes you lose your sense of proportion.” So I said, “I can’t play that kind of flute.”

The flute that I was going to buy was three hundred dollars. But he flattered me to such an extent that I decided to get one that cost about a thousand dollars. When I was about to pay the bill, Alo came into the store. She said, “A thousand dollars!”

But I said to myself, “I sell so many flute tapes. In two weeks I will be able to make this money back. I won’t be wasting money. Now I will be able to make more tapes and sell them.”

So I bought the expensive flute. Now I am practising on it, and I am already planning to make several more tapes.

LS 20. 28 March 1982

The harmonium21

When I was in London at a smaller-than-the-smallest shop, I saw a small harmonium. Just for the sake of fun and curiosity, I said, “Can I see the harmonium?”

The man said, “Certainly you can see it, but first you have to tell me if you have ever played one. If you have never played one, I can’t allow you to play it. You have to listen to me play it. I will play, and you will hear what a wonderful sound it has.”

I said, “Definitely I can play it. Please let me try.” It was very small. After playing it I said, “I have four or five harmoniums and this one is infinitely worse than my worst!”

He kept quiet because he saw that I did know how to play.

LS 21. 28 March 1982

The good-hearted Indian22

While I was shopping in London, an Indian really proved to have a good heart. I was buying some saris, and I wanted to pay the owner in American dollars. I was telling him that to simplify things, I would say that two dollars equals a pound. The owner said, “Do you want to make me very rich?”

I said, “Why?”

He said, “It is a dollar eighty-five, and you want to give me two dollars. I don’t want you to make me rich!”

Since I was offering, he could have easily agreed. Then he was begging me to drink some juice because it was very hot. I said no, because I had to leave.

He said, “At least take some handkerchiefs from me. Do you have any handkerchiefs?”

I said, “No, I don’t have any handkerchiefs.”

So he forced me to take three handkerchiefs.

LS 22. 20 May 1982

Looking for shorts23

In London I spent half an hour in Barkers looking for a pair of shorts. All the shorts were sizes 32 and 34. A salesman went to look for my size, but after fifteen minutes he came back and said they did not even have one pair in size 30. I was disappointed not to be able to get a pair of shorts, but secretly I was very happy to find that it is so rare for a man to have a size 30 waist!

LS 23. 20 May 1982

The baked potato shop24

There were over six hundred people at the concert I gave in Edinburgh the last time I was there. They were very receptive.

Afterwards I was very hungry, but I didn’t want to eat much. Sabuj is the manager of a baked potato store, so we went there to eat. After I ate one baked potato, my hunger increased like anything, so I asked them to give me three or four items more. Even that was not enough, and again I asked for more. So this is how I diet when I am travelling.

LS 24. 20 May 1982

The embarrassing question25

After the seven-mile race in Scotland, we went to a store where I bought a football for Tejiyan’s team. In India I hadn’t seen that kind of ball, so I bought it. Janaka and Janani were with me, browsing.

One of the workers came up to me and said, “I am embarrassed, but I would like to ask you something. You have no hair, yet you look so smart and strong. May I know your age?”

I said, “Fifty-one.”

He said, “Fifty-one?”

The worker was much younger than me, but he was very fat. He couldn’t believe I was over fifty. And he was not just flattering me because I bought the football. He said this to me long before I bought it.

LS 25. 20 May 1982

Buying a flute26

Before leaving for San Francisco, I went with X to buy a new bow for my esraj. There were seven flutes in the store and I decided to buy the cheapest one, which was for beginners. The man said, “Do you want the one in the showcase or would you like to have a new one?” I took the old one, which cost $206. This was the cheapest beginner’s flute. It is so useless that I can’t play it.

LS 26. 5 June 1982

The thirty-dollar meal27

Many years ago I went to a restaurant alone. The waiter was wearing a tie and a black suit. He asked me if I had thirty dollars. He said, “Here the minimum is thirty dollars.”

I had two hundred dollars or more in my wallet but I said, “I thank you,” and went away.

The waiter probably thought that I didn’t have thirty dollars. But although I did have it, I said to myself, “What am I going to eat for thirty dollars?” That is why I went away.

LS 27. 13 June 1982

Losing one's appetite28

Yesterday I went to a coffee shop after I had gone shopping. A lady came in after me and ordered some food. Then she said that she was going to make a phone call. When she came back to the counter the waitress said to her, “Here is your food.”

The lady started screaming at the waitress and then went out of the coffee shop. The waitress followed her, also screaming, because the lady had ordered food and had gone away without paying for it. God knows what happened during her phone conversation, but she did not want to eat.

LS 28. 13 June 1982

What else?29

When I was in Maryland, I went to a candle shop and got four or five different items made of wax. At the cash register the shopkeeper asked, as usual, “What else, what else?”

Whenever I stand by the cash register, before they tell me how much I owe them, they always ask, “What else, what else?”

LS 29. 26 June 1982

The King's admirers30

I went to a bookstore today on Sutphin Boulevard, near Jamaica Avenue. Next to the bookstore is my most favourite Italian restaurant. For years I used to walk down there and bring pizza back to my house for any disciples who were working there. The owner’s name is Mark. Always the people in that restaurant are so nice to me!

When I went into the bookstore today, a black man was reading Muhammad Ali’s book, I Am King. In this book Ali did not say he was “the greatest.” He said, “I am the King.”

The man was very nice. He was showing such interest in the book. He said, “Would you like to buy this book?”

I said, “I am, like you, a great admirer of Muhammad Ali.”

He said, “You are a great admirer of his?”

I said, “I have had quite a few interviews with him.”

He couldn’t believe his ears. He said, “Oh, you have met the King? You talked to him?”

I said, “I have talked with him for hours.”

I took the man’s name and address and said that I would send him the brochures with our interviews.

The man had with him a cage with a rabbit inside. The shopkeeper wouldn’t let him bring it inside the bookstore.

LS 30. 21 July 1982

The one-cent "discount"31

After I finished talking to the black man, I bought a few books. The price came to five dollars and forty cents. Before I paid the man at the counter, I was talking to him for a while. I asked him if he was the new owner. He said, “Yes, I am.”

So I said, “Good luck!” I said many other nice things to him also.

Then, when I reached into my pocket, I saw that I had a five dollar bill, plus a quarter, a dime and four pennies. I said to him, “I have here five dollars and thirty-nine cents. If you do not want to accept it, I will give you a twenty dollar bill.”

He grabbed the twenty dollar bill. He wanted to have the twenty, instead of five thirty-nine. Then when he was about to give me the change, he said, “Not worth it!” He returned the twenty, and took my five thirty-nine.

I said, “Fine!”

I should one day give him a hundred books free. His spiritual section is nothing — all rubbish novels.

LS 31. 21 July 1982

Mistaken identity32

Yesterday I went with Nirvik and Baoul to get a machine. In the store, Nirvik saw on the owner’s desk two small paintings on a card. Nirvik is a great art-lover. He brought the card to me and said, “Look, Guru, your paintings!” He was positive, a hundred per cent sure. I was ninety-five per cent certain that it was my painting. But when we turned the card over, there was somebody else’s name on it. I looked at it and said, “How can it be?” Baoul also felt it was my painting, but somebody else’s name was written on the card.

LS 32. 24 July 1982

Buying the Post33

Last week I went to a candy store and bought the Post. It was not the Enquirer so luckily I was saved! My disciples always tell me I should not be seen buying the Enquirer, although reading it always amuses me. As I was buying the paper, a man with a moustache and beard asked me, “Are you Sri Chinmoy?”

I smiled at him.

He continued, “Are you really? I have come to your meditations at PS 86 on Parsons Boulevard.”

I was carrying a bag over my shoulder, so he said “Now you are carrying a bag.”

I said, “Now you see the difference from the way I am at meditation.”

He said, “No difference!”

While I was paying for the newspaper, he was telling the shopkeeper, “He is Sri Chinmoy.”

When I was coming out of the store, he was still gazing at me.

LS 33. 7 August 1982

An important person34

The other day I was in a store shopping for something for Alo. A very, very fat lady came into the same store to buy something for herself. The lady had her hand on a garment when she saw me. She kept her hand on the garment and started looking at me with such awe. Then she said, “Are you Sri Chinmoy?”

So I smiled at her. Then the owner started asking her, “Who is he?”

I have been at that clothing store on Jamaica Avenue at least sixty or seventy times, but the owner thinks that I am an ordinary person. After talking to the lady, the owner realised that I am an “important person.” So that’s how I became an important person overnight!

LS 34. 11 September 1982

Filled with saris35

When I was in Japan, I went into a shop that was completely filled with saris. In every nook and corner there were saris. It was difficult even to walk inside the store. They knew how to keep as many saris as possible inside a small space!

LS 35. 13 September 1982

The little girl who wouldn't move36

I went to Dan Lurie’s exercise store with Dhanu to buy some exercise equipment. A black gentleman came up to me, practically with folded hands, and asked with such respect, “Are you Sri Chinmoy?”

I said, “Yes.”

He was so excited. He was telling his six or seven-year-old daughter, “That is Sri Chinmoy! That is Guru Sri Chinmoy!”

His daughter felt shy, so she stayed in one corner of the store while I was taking exercise on an exercise machine. After ten minutes she came over to watch me. Then she wouldn’t move. She was standing so near me, looking and looking at my eyes for ten minutes, with her eyes wide open. Dhanu couldn’t figure out why she wouldn’t move.

LS 36. 14 October 1982

A mentor37

Yesterday I went to an old bookstore and bought Mystics as a Force for Change by Sisir Kumar Ghose. He is a Bengali who lives in Shanti Niketan. He happens to be a very close friend of mine, plus one of my great mentors. He is extremely fond of me, and I am extremely fond of him.

I know him so well. He has been going to the ashram for the last thirty years. We used to walk along the shores of the Bay of Bengal together in the evening. Eighteen years ago he came to America to give lectures at Mississippi University. Some nice pictures of us together were taken while he was here. He brought me a beautiful small statue of Lord Buddha and other gifts. I remember them — especially a peculiar ballpoint from Shanti Niketan.

For most of the articles in the book that I bought, I had served as his messenger boy. During that time I was unofficial sub-editor of Mother India, and I used to take his articles to the editor. Also, I made arrangements for him to have an interview with Mother India.

I was so delighted and excited to see the book. It was $2.95. So I bought it and started reading it. I truly admire Sisir Kumar Ghose. He was such a nice, kind mentor. I am really grateful to him. My immediate offering of gratitude to this supremely noble soul can only be felt and never be described. Many, many things one day I will tell about him.

But after I had bought his book the funniest thing happened. That same afternoon I received a letter from Vidagdha saying that Sisir Kumar Ghose of Shanti Niketan had been one of the examiners of her doctoral thesis on my poetry. Melbourne University had submitted her thesis to various places, but the professors didn’t want to examine it because they didn’t know anything about the subject. Finally, Sisir Ghose accepted. He is head of the English section of the university at Shanti Niketan. According to him, Vidagdha should have also said something about my Bengali poems.

LS 37. 28 October 1982

Such a nice man38

I was at a fruit stand on 147th Street, beyond Jamaica Avenue. The Japanese girl there said to me, “Hi! I have not seen you for a long time.”

I said, “I have also not seen you for a long time.”

Then I got seven or eight items. I came to her and she added it up on the cash register. It came to $13. I said, “It is wrong. Are you sure?”

She said, “Do you think I am overcharging you’”

I said, “No, it seems to me that you have not charged me for all the items.”

Then she took the receipt out of the cash register and checked each item to show me that it was all right. I was wrong.

Then she said, “You are such a nice man!”

LS 38. 31 October 1982

A brother named Sri Chinmoy39

Yesterday I went to a grocery store nearby. When I went to pay, the man behind the counter said to me, “Do you have a brother named Sri Chinmoy?”

I said, “Why?”

He said, “You look exactly like him.”

Then he looked at me again and dropped his bag of plantain chips and said, “Sri Chinmoy! Sri Chinmoy!”

He told me, “Two or three years ago I went to one of your meetings in Manhattan. There I saw you meditating.” He couldn’t believe that I would be shopping in a grocery store. He came from the Dominican Republic.

He was so excited. He told his friend, “Sri Chinmoy is in my store! Sri Chinmoy is in my store!”

LS 39. 31 October 1982

The disciple40

Another day I was looking at wristwatches. On that day I was carrying two heavy bags.

Baoul was waiting for me in the car at a particular place. I could see him, but he didn’t see me, so I had to carry the bags myself.

A man came up to me and asked, “Are you Sri Chinmoy?”

I said, “Yes.”

He said, “I came to one of your Wednesday meetings. It was so powerful.” Then he started telling me all about his Guru while I was standing holding the heavy bags.

He said, “I was initiated by my Guru. Now he has passed away.”

I said, “Your Guru has left successors. You should follow his successors.”

He said, “My Guru taught me Kundalini Yoga. But I don’t get anything from his successors.”

I said, “I don’t teach Kundalini Yoga.”

He said, “Do you think you could take me faster?”

I said, “You have been initiated by your Guru. Now he is the one to take you.”

For ten minutes I talked to him, all the time holding my heavy bags. Finally I said, “Your Guru is the right Guru for you.”

Then I carried the bags to Baoul’s car.

LS 40. 31 October 1982

The St. Thomas restaurant41

In St. Thomas I was eating in a restaurant when a young man — one of the waiters — came up to me and asked, “Are you the same guy that I saw in the newspaper?”

I said, “I am the same guy.”

Then somebody passing by said, “Yes, he is the same gentleman.”

The first man said, “Oh, he is a great man!” Then he disappeared.

LS 41. 22 November 1982

The philosopher42

I went to a bookstore yesterday. First I was reading religious books and then I got inspired to read some jokes. So I went to another shelf that had joke books. I was the only customer, so the owner was watching me. He said, “What are you doing? This moment you are reading religious books, and the next moment jokes!”

I told him, “When I want to get joy in this world I read joke books, and when I want to get joy in the inner world I read spiritual books.”

So he said, “Are you a philosopher?”

I said, “Yes.”

Then I continued reading the joke books.

LS 42. 11 December 1982

Twelve donuts43

After I left the bookstore, I went to a donut store and ordered a dozen. I could not tell whether the person behind the counter was a man or a woman. The voice was like a man’s, but the hair and everything was like a woman’s.

When I asked for a dozen, he or she couldn’t understand me. So I said, “Twelve.”

Then the worker started putting the donuts in a brown paper bag. Another worker came over and said, “No, put them in a box.” So he started putting them in a box.

Then a young Puerto Rican woman came and said, “Twelve? Do you know how much they cost? Fifty cents each!”

I looked at them and said, “I have the money.”

They were warning me that it was so expensive, as if I couldn’t buy twelve donuts. This store changes hands quite often. Six months ago when I went there to buy five or six donuts, the owner gave me three or four extra for free. Always when I used to go there he would pat me on the shoulder and say, “You are a nice man.” Now he is no longer there.

LS 43. 11 December 1982

Translations of this page: Slovak
This book series can be cited using cite-key ls-1